Well winter is well and truly upon us and race day patrons, public and Members, are staying away in droves.

I have attended recent ATC meetings, but haven’t bothered to go into the Members, just had a wander around to see the massive areas vacant, tote areas unmanned, bars unopened and just generally, sad, depressing race days.

It is embarrassing to walk past bars, with staff staring out, with almost nothing to do, almost begging you to buy a drink.

Last Saturday, I arrived at Rosehill, about 10 or so minutes before gate opening time and again, like dutiful, obedient school children, patiently waited to be told we may enter by a staff member.

Once inside, I snared my favourite table in the Thermos Brigade area and I noticed that no work had commenced on the refurbishment. Two reasonably new Members that I met several meetings ago at Rosehill arrived and we chatted. The last time I saw them they were having guests down from the country and had booked a table in TJ’s. They mentioned how bad the service was on the day, amongst other complaints, and had written a letter to the Club, but never received an acknowledgement or reply.

I mentioned that some time ago I had ripped my shirt at Rosehill, forms filled in and never heard a word again. So I told them their experience was not unusual. You see, if a complaint is ignored by staff, eventually it will go away and staff have won and so, the cycle continues. Ignore it and it will go away, only do as much as you have to and can get away with.

Trouble is, some organisations have, to their detriment, found that ignoring complaints will lead to a backlash, especially with social media the way it is.

With venues, they can be full and popular one minute and literally overnight, be empty and closed. Think The Stables and Keystone.

Anyway, I then went for a wander and discovered the Champagne Bar was open and free as no bookings had been received, so myself and the new Members went upstairs. What a desolate area a race course is without patrons.

I try and keep my ear to the ground and try to keep abreast of what is going on, especially with the ATC.

I have long believed and stated that staff run the ATC, not the Committee. The Committee quickly distance themselves from anything day to day or mundane. Their eyes glaze over when confronted with Members expectations versus reality. Staff make the decisions that we as Members have to abide by, put up with and are stuck with.

More often than not, these decisions are what suits them and their convenience, not Members.

In August, next month, the Member forums commence. Seriously. No seriously. Why would you, as a Member, bother ? I’ll tell you who will turn up. The free sandwich brigade, little old ladies and a couple of really concerned and pissed off Members.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the first two, really ! I just wish 2 things – 1. That they actually spoke up, like they do between themselves on race days and other gatherings about their issues with the ATC and 2. That more Members would avail themselves of their opportunity to be heard, good, bad or indifferent.

No doubt the Committee will have some Member there extolling the Committee’s virtues.

I again say, mediocrity should not be rewarded with complacency, otherwise the mediocrity will perpetuate.

Apparently, I’m not taken seriously, and that’s fine with me, so long as my credibility is intact, I don’t care, but can the same be said about the ATC, as a whole ?

It is now 8 months after the ATC AGM and what have we heard ? The sound of crickets and frogs, that’s what.

Julia Ritchie is kidding herself if she thinks she is actually getting anywhere. Staff are just nodding at appropriate times, knowing that the status quo will remain. She is running around putting out scrub fires, not building fire breaks.

Oh of course we did receive in May, an email from the Chairman announcing the NEW QUARTERLY UPDATE FROM THE BOARD, that included, um, updates. Piss and wind.

Announcements have been made before and . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Sorry, dozed off for a second.

Whatever happened about the hotel to be built at the end of the Officials Stand ? What is really going on with the Inglis/Warwick Farm business ? Has it been sold, did we get the money ?

Look, the list goes on . . .

Maybe the August forums will be the announcement of the new Members loyalty scheme . . . yawn.

The AJC had a loyalty scheme that lasted no time, yet the Melbourne Clubs have been running them for years, successfully.

Whatever the ATC comes up with, it will only be what staff want or are prepared to concede.

No doubt the term, “ after much consultation . . . yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. “ Yawn again.

I’m really looking forward to being able to write something positive . . . oh look, a pig just flew past . . .

I’m guessing that this Saturday at Royal Randwick, only the new stand will be open. Which is fair enough, considering the crowd.

Maybe they should hold a wake, they seem to draw a crowd.

Good luck and good punting.

Norm Snowden

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  1. alcacted says:

    I was at Rosehill on Saturday – downstairs in the members – it had the atmosphere of a Gulag prison. Crap, mass-produced beers and cider, party pies and other assorted rubbish served up by charisma deficient staff. Will not travel out there again to be disappointed – when I can bet on my Ipad with Betfair at the Gladstone Park Bowlo in Balmain.
    Clown to the Left

  2. Norm Snowden says:

    alcacted, thank you for replying and sharing your experience. I’ve always referred to that area as, The Dungeon. Bottom line is, Committee and staff don’t care, they just ride out the bad months and then think that all will be gained back with The Championships, when the weather will be fine and all the one day wonders come out to play. I bet your membership at the Gladstone is only a few dollars a year and you get top service and convivial atmosphere. I guess also you don’t want to hear that the Committee were all up in the Winning Post Restaurant, I believe spending their own money, but the point is, they have no inkling to do a walk around. None of them I bet has ever watched a Golden Slipper Day Members gate entry time. They just don’t have a clue and the best staff could come up with was to celebrate an American holiday. Do they really think Aussies will take to some American cuisine in one day ? Norm.

  3. JLR. says:

    Why do you allow the knockers wannabes’ and just down and dirty disgruntled whingers the space to write about what is not right about racing,committees,members,boards,CEO’s,Chairmen Grandstands,Facilities the list of failure in the eyes of a grandstander goes (boringly) on & on!!
    They all become members so that they don’t have to mix with the dirty unwashed & supposedly get a cheaper day out,’want cheap?’cheap is what you will get!’ Become a member then you can complain about what you don’t get,then you can complain about nil reply to your cmplaint.Ok complain again! As with these whinging posts,same old same old.
    Why go to the races when it cause angst anger blood pressure hike hair pulling frustration,an absolute waste of energy & wait you haven’t looked out the steamy windows yet,’was that a couple or three horses that just run past on that cow paddock with a couple of blokes on top getting wet & muddy? why would they bother?’
    Now where was I? Oh yes isn’t the service appalling and this grandstand facility is an abombination!
    Jeez give us some positive rubbish that may help this industry & the likes of myself enjoy what we are doing by having a show to put on for the likes of the negative rubbish whingers who want to sit & put the crosses in the empty boxes of the blame game. Take the M out of member & you only have a dwindling glow that won’t warm anyone’s heart, you can whinge all you want,you’ll still send a warm heart cold.
    From Racing the place where rubbish is made,if one wants to believe the whingers!
    Me,well I’d rather stand with the few winners & many losers of the Industry,it’s not hard to work out who they all are,you only have to look through the steamy windows to see who are the real triers!

  4. Norm Snowden says:

    JLR, thank you for your response. Any time I have made a comment, I have usually offered options, alternatives or suggestions to what I and others perceive as deficiencies in racing and at the ATC. I like to think that I have gone about it in a calm, rational manner. My reading of your comment is that you find nothing wrong with racing or the ATC and that nothing need change. I respect and appreciate your opinion. An opinion you are more than entitled to have and air. However your and my views differ and thankfully we live in a country that allows that. For mine, I am reminded of the beleaguered McDonalds, the hamburger mob, in regards to complaints about their coffee. I refer you to this link – Besides this particular article, I believe McDonalds CEO or someone of note in the McDonalds company, also stated something along the lines of them liking people to complain, because complaints bring change. Again I ask of you, are you totally happy with racing and the ATC, in the way they are run and managed ? Even rose coloured glasses, can’t cover mediocrity, ineptitude, complacency or self interest.

  5. Norm

    Be assured there is a plan and you will be one of the first to hear about it. To be released mid September.

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